Thursday, October 28, 2010

Agriculture Goes to Bat in 2010 World Series

As the 2010 World Series steps up to the plate, baseball fans may be surprised to know how agriculture plays out on the Field of Dreams. From wooden bats and leather mitts to cotton uniforms and turfgrass, America's pastime would be a tough pitch without the products of farmers and ranchers. So, whether you're rooting for the Texas Rangers or San Francisco Giants in this year's World Series, keep an eye out for agriculture while you're staying glued to the tube.
  • Baseball bats are made of wood and in Texas, the timber industry produces more than 500 million cubic feet of lumber annually with a delivered value of more than $600 million.
  • Leather is used to make mitts and Texas leads the nation in cattle with more than 13 million head, which have an annual production value of about $6 billion.
  • Peanuts are a favorite snack at baseball games and in Texas, we produce more than 700 million pounds of peanuts - enough to make 7 billion peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
  • Hot dogs are a traditional favorite at baseball games and the Texas pork industry has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $250 million.
  • Hot dogs also need hot dog buns. Texas growers produce an average of 90 million bushels of wheat annually - enough to make more than 25 billion hot dog buns.
  • Texas is a leading dairy state and produces enough milk each year to fill the Texas Rangers Ball Park in Arlington nearly eight times.
  • Texas is the nation's No. 1 cotton-producing state, growing enough cotton every year to make about 3 billion baseball uniforms. If the bales of cotton produced in Texas were placed side-by-side, they could line both sides of the road from the Rangers' ballpark to the San Francisco Giants' home field.
  • Want wool socks to go with that uniform? Texas is the top wool-producing state in the nation, with more than 800,000 sheep yielding nearly 4 million pounds of wool.
  • Cornstarch can be used to make biodegradable plastic for drink cups, tableware, and more. Texas growers expect to produce 294 million bushels of corn in 2010.
  • The grass is always greener at the ballpark. Texas harvests nearly 40,000 acres of turf grass sod annually.
  • How better to celebrate a world championship than with a good steak dinner? Texas produces about 8 billion pounds of beef a year.
  • Where else but Texas can you find a World Series baseball teamed owned by a Texas rancher who has a brand of beef named after him? Nolan Ryan produces great Texas beef and a world-class baseball team.
These are just a few examples of agriculture powering every aspect of our daily lives, from our dinnertimes to our pastimes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

TDA's Wine Passport Program Wins Award

Guest Blogger: Kerry Neely, Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Marketing

I'm proud to announce the Texas Department of Agriculture's Texas Winery Passport Program won the 2010 North American Agriculture Marketing Officials (NAAMO) Agricultural Marketing Excellence award!

The winery passport program works in new and innovative ways to offer incentives to visitors experiencing Texas wine country. Through the program, more than 1 million travelers visit Texas vineyards and wineries, while meeting the winemakers who take pride in their craft. Thanks to those winemakers, Texas is the fifth-leading wine-producing state in the nation.

When travelers redeem their passports, not only does TDA send them a reward or connect them with a reward-donating winery that offers tastings, dinners or overnight stays, the agency also receives valuable feedback about consumer interests that serves as essential market research.

NAAMO awarded TDA and Texas this honor above all other U.S. states and Canadian provinces. To learn more about the Texas Winery Passport Program, visit

Congratulations again to TDA's Marketing and Promotion Division for superior strategy and excellent execution!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

TDA Kicks Off "Hog Out Month - Get the Hog Outta Texas!"

Guest Blogger, Drew DeBerry, Deputy Agriculture Commissioner

A big, Texas-sized thank you goes out to Tarrant County and about 60 other Texas counties that have accepted Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples' statewide challenge "Hog Out Month - Get the Hog Outta Texas!"

The challenge is aimed at reducing the costly feral hog population in Texas by challenging counties to compete for grant money for having the highest number of hogs removed; highest number of participants at a TDA-approved education program about feral hog abatement; and highest number of acres in the county that landowners will commit to allow access by trappers.

As any farmer or rancher will tell you, feral hogs are destructive to property and livestock throughout Texas. With additional damage done to urban areas and vehicles, feral hogs cost Texas taxpayers up to $400 million each year in property damages.

In the spirit of fun and football, the announcement of this challenge also serves to invite Texans to the "Hog Out Tailgate Party" scheduled as part of the Texas A&M Aggies versus Arkansas Razorbacks game at Cowboys Stadium Oct. 9. Cheering the Aggies to victory over the Razorbacks will help rally the fight against feral hogs.

A special thanks to Arlington Mayor Dr. Robert Cluck and Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley for joining Commissioner Staples and endorsing "Hog Out Month - Get the Hog Outta Texas!" Both men know firsthand the damage caused by feral hogs in Tarrant County and offered their full support and participation.

For more information about "Hog Out Month - Get the Hog Outta Texas!" visit and look under Most Popular Links. Go Texas landowners! Go Aggies, and let's all work to "Get the Hog Outta Texas!"